Researchers deploying bio-logging tags on white sharks in the mid-Atlantic Bight

Researchers deploying bio-logging tags on white sharks in the mid-Atlantic Bight Credit: South Fork Natural History Museum

The University of Delaware School of Marine Science and Policy was awarded a 3-year grant to operationalize the collection and model assimilation of high-quality conductivity, temperature and depth profiles by deploying specially designed tags on shark in the Mid-Atlantic Bight. The Mid-Atlantic Bight is one of the most thermally variable coastal oceans in the world, making accurate, spatially distributed CTD profiles in this region critical for storm forecasting. The accuracy of these forecasts directly affects regional storm preparedness and mitigation operations, maritime operations, commercial fisheries, and soon-to-be installed renewable wind energy assets. Biologging tags—miniaturized animal-borne tags that log and/or relay data about an animal’s movements, behavior, physiology, and/or environment—have proven to be effective and inexpensive tools for generating real time ocean observations. A new operational CTD biologging tag is a cost-effective way to increase available data in areas like the Mid-Atlantic Bight, complementing existing robotic (e.g. glider) deployments. This proposal will develop, characterize, and test a new biologging CTD tag; deploy the new tag on specific shark species that exhibit diving behavior suited to creating consistent vertical profiles of ocean heat and salinity; and collaborate with the Animal Telemetry Network and MARACOOS to quality control and deliver these data in real time for global and regional data assimilation. Year 1: $378,044 Year 2: $399,529 Year 3: $399,329 Total Award: $1,176,902 Partners: University of Delaware, MARACOOS, NOAA, University of St. Andrews Sea Mammal Research Unit